In a previous post I mentioned about how God stepped in and saved four Hewa women and their children in PNG who were accused of being “witches”. The police came in to this remote area and made it known that there were not to be any killings based on accusations of sorcery.
Unfortunately, the story took a bad turn in late May when a woman named Mifila (pictured), one of the accused witches, was axed to death. The plan was to kill another lady, Susana, as well as Mifila, plus children. Susana and her daughter escaped into the jungle. My friend Susan Kopf (not Susana) wrote, “Months ago we pleaded with this lady and her children to fly to the safety of another village but her family line, being in denial, would not allow her to leave.”
All this is done because of the people’s ancestral belief about sickness and death.
What is happening now?
John and Jessi George (NTM missionaries to the Hewa) explained, “The good thing that has come from all this, however, is that there is now a mass exodus planned for many women and children who are currently marked as witches. There have been plenty of times before when they have come to us asking about leaving, then decide the threats against them are not real, and forget about it. Now, Mifila’s death has them all scared, so many who were not ready before to take the giant step of leaving their homes, families, gardens, and even language to go somewhere new where they will be safe are now begging to go.
The flights are scheduled for early July, so we are asking for prayer for these families.”
What can you do? Pray…
– That God would change the hearts of those who would kill those accused. The gospel has changed the lives of many formerly involved in this practice. But it is not an isolated incident.
– That the families do not go back on this decision to leave.
– That they come up with the funds to pay for the flights (The missionaries contribute, but cannot fully pay for the flights without causing incredible cultural problems).
– For the people’s transition into a new village, language and culture. They are being adopted in by other Christians.
– For safety until it is time to leave. If someone were to get sick and die before then, they could very easily be attacked and killed before they have a chance to escape.
To get a better understanding of their beliefs that lead to murder you can watch these two short videos that I helped with story, audio and lighting: Fato’s Story and The Spirits Never Loved Us. These murders among the Hewa have been heavily covered by PNG and Australian news. HERE is one example.